California Sanctuary Sponsors Day to Honor One of the World’s Oldest Creatures
– January 26, 2011 – American Tortoise Rescue (http://www.tortoise.com), a nonprofit organization established in 1990 for the protection
of all species of tortoise and turtle, is sponsoring its 12th annual World Turtle Day on May 23rd.
Featured in Chase’s Book of Annual Events, the day was created as an annual observance to help people celebrate
and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. Susan
Tellem and Marshall Thompson, founders of ATR, advocate humane treatment of all
animals, including reptiles. Since 1990, ATR has placed about 3,000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes.
ATR assists law enforcement when undersize or endangered turtles are confiscated and provides helpful information and
referrals to persons with sick, neglected or abandoned turtles.
“World Turtle Day was started 12 years ago to increase respect and knowledge
for the world’s oldest creatures. These gentle animals have been around for about 200 million years,
yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of the exotic food industry, habitat destruction and the cruel pet trade,”
says Tellem. “We are seeing smaller turtles coming into the rescue meaning that older adults are disappearing from the
wild, and the breeding stock is drastically reduced. It is a very sad time for turtles and tortoises of
the world.” She added that many sea turtles lost their lives in 2010 thanks to BP’s uncontrolled
oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. “It’s a tragic example of putting profits before preserving
our environment,” Tellem said.
year a special fundraising event is scheduled for May 20th at the world famous Shack in Santa Monica, Calif.
Tellem says that this is the first fundraiser that the rescue has ever held, and members are looking forward to it
already. :”There will be refreshments, door prizes and just a whole lot of turtle talk,” she said.
Tellem and Thompson note that experts predict the complete
disappearance of one of the world’s oldest creatures within the next 50 years. They recommend that
adults and children do a few small things that can help to save turtles and tortoises for the next generation:
· Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop as it increases demand from the wild.
· Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured.
· If a tortoise is crossing a busy street, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going –
if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again.
Write letters to legislators asking
them to keep sensitive habitat preserved or closed to off road vehicles, and to prevent off shore drilling that can lead to
more endangered sea turtle deaths.
· Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to
your local animal control shelter.
Report the sale of any turtle or
tortoise of any kind less than four inches. This is illegal everywhere in the U.S.
vendors at downtown Mercados and live food markets throughout the U.S. are a major problem for turtles, especially the ‘red
eared slider’ water turtle. These poor creatures have an almost 100 percent mortality rate due to
ignorance about their care,” Tellem says. She added that tiny turtles need to be kept in warm water,
and must eat under water to survive.
ultimate goal is to stop the illegal trade in turtles and tortoises around the world. Our first priority
here in the U.S. is to stop pet stores and reptile shows from selling illegal hatchling tortoises and turtles,” says
Thompson. “We also need to educate people who are unfamiliar with their proper care about the real
risk of contracting salmonella from turtles. Schools and county fairs are no place for turtles. Wash your
hands thoroughly every time you touch a turtle or its water, and do not bring live turtles into homes where children are under
the age of 12.”
For answers to questions and other information
visit American Tortoise Rescue online at www.tortoise.com
or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @tortoiserescue; “Like” American Tortoise Rescue at www.Facebook.com/AmericanTortoiseRescue; and join World Turtle Day on Facebook at World Turtle Day.